Greedy time: an interview with Patrick Lee Miller

Nathan Schneider in The Immanent Frame:

Plm5 Patrick Lee Miller is an assistant professor of philosophy at Duquesne University and the author of Becoming God: Pure Reason in Early Greek Philosophy (Continuum). His work focuses primarily on ancient Greek philosophy, albeit in constant conversation with modern thinkers. Becoming God examines the early conflict between Heraclitean philosophy and the Parmenidean metaphysics that was to become the cornerstone of Plato’s thought, and hence of the tradition of Western philosophy that followed in his wake.

NS: What is at stake in the questions of time and consistency that you’re probing through your inquiries into ancient philosophy?

PLM: If you’ve ever lost someone you loved, or ever deeply regretted something you’ve done, then time is a problem for you. We’ve all longed for the past, whether to be with someone or to be without some deed. Nietzsche expressed this very clearly in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, where his hero says that our impotence before “greedy time” makes us resentful of it. To cope with this resentment, we dream of hinterworlds outside of time, eternities that promise to redeem us from its greed. There, everything will be made whole, every beloved will live again. So goes the dream. The sort of rationality pioneered by Parmenides—consistency—makes time impossible, and so when Plato combined it with the philosophical religion of Pythagoreanism, the result was a moralized rejection of time. We can cope with greedy time, for Plato, by seeing it as not only unreal, but evil. Our real life is not here, but there, among the Forms in eternity. If that’s so, however, why not commit suicide and get there immediately? This is a serious problem for Platonism. To avoid its nihilism and affirm our life in this world, we need a way to understand time as fully real. I argue in the book that Heraclitus offers this way.

More here.